Tricky draws for Spurs and Liverpool

Fri, Aug 31, 2012, 01:00

Soccer:Tottenham and Liverpool were both handed Italian jobs after being paired with Lazio and Udinese in today’s Europa League group-stage draw. Spurs — denied a Champions League spot despite finishing fourth in the Premier League after Chelsea’s European Cup triumph — were placed in Group J, which also contained Greek club Panathinaikos and Maribor of Slovenia.

Three-time winners Liverpool will also face mega-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala and Swiss side Young Boys in Group A. They and Tottenham were both top seeds but were arguably handed tougher groups than Newcastle, who were seeded third ahead of their first European campaign for six years. The Magpies were in Group D along with Bordeaux, Club Brugge and Maritimo.

Holders Atletico Madrid will face Hapoel Tel Aviv, Viktoria Plzen and newcomers Academica Coimbra from neighbouring Portugal in the group stage of this season's competition. Athletic Bilbao, beaten by Atletico in last season's final face Olympique Lyon, Sparta Prague and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona in another of the 12 groups that comprise the opening stage of the competition.

The group stage begins on September 20th, with this season's final scheduled for Amsterdam on May 15th next year.

Europa League group stage

Group A

Young Boys
Anzhi Makhachkala

Group B

Atletico Madrid
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Viktoria Plzen
Academica Coimbra

Group C

Olympique Marseille
Borussia Moenchengladbach
AEL Limassol

Group D

Girondins Bordeaux
Club Bruges
Newcastle United

Group E

VfB Stuttgart
FC Copenhagen
Steaua Bucharest

Group F

PSV Eindhoven
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
AIK Stockholm

Group G

Sporting Lisbon

Group H

Inter Milan
Rubin Kazan
Partizan Belgrade
Nefti PFK

Group I

Olympique Lyon
Athletic Bilbao
Sparta Prague
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona

Group J

Tottenham Hotspur

Group K

Bayer Leverkusen
Metalist Kharkiv
Rosenborg Trondheim
Rapid Vienna

Group L

Twente Enschede
Hanover 96

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